After spending a considerable amount of time on the internet reviewing comments and reactions on Netflix Film “Nappily Ever After”, I’ve come to a conclusion. There is a split almost straight down the center on people either loving this movie for its message, or hating it for its representation of the Black Woman. The real detail lies in the reasoning for the like or dislike, almost detailing the personalities of the type of Black Woman who either hates or loves it.

The hate is almost presented sharply, almost in anger and frustration.. such as “how dare they show us as downgrading and settling for some dusty single black man with a kid..” Really? WTF? The man in the movie who clearly provides for his daughter, runs a businesses, and actually showed interest in the woman who self conscious about her appearance due to the presumed  “elite” possibly not liking her natural state.. This almost comes off as contradictory. In that case, why should ANY successful black man want to deal with a single black woman with a kid? Because when they don’t the hate is ACIDIC. But honestly, this all is completely irrelevant and far outside the message of the movie. It ended exactly as it should have, and the entire movie was more about her embracing who she is after removing the “filter”

This was done through discovery, compassion, understanding, and character development, not only of herself, but her strength in guiding others. But the legion of spite will always find a way to discredit anything that is even slightly attempting to provide a positive message.

So I randomly went through various media sites and outlets picking comments, take a look at what the critics are saying about the film below.

I feel like this hypergamy stuff is damaging the black community. The point of the movie was to show that a woman can embrace who she truly is and love herself in her natural state. This involved her ridding herself of the perfectionist mindset she formerly possessed. Her perfectionism played out in every area of her life job; relationships, hair, etc. The situation with the single father who owned a salon represented her ridding herself of social expectations. People expect a successful and beautiful woman like herself to be with someone similar, like Clint. Clint’s love for her was superficial, it was related to her being ”perfect.” (which is why it was ironic that’s the reason he gave for not marrying her). With the single father she was able to finally be herself, and experience a genuine love while also embracing her natural hair. She did not marry this man and they seemed to break up after he stormed out. The point is, there is no struggle love story in this, just one woman’s journey to self-love and the paths she had to take to get there. – Suryya Walters


I was sooo disappointed that the movie basically portrayed struggle love. You knooooow, where the black girl had to “build the brotha up” in order for him to be successful. Oh, and how she was basically supporting her previous boyfriend of 2 years while he was in his residency program to be a doctor. FOH ✌🏾 What else did I expect though? This movie was really geared towards black women, and since black women are associated with poverty, they don’t encourage us to by hypergamous. When we want to be hypergamous we get called gold diggers 😒😒 But I promise youuuu if this was a romance comedy for white women, there would have been a happy ending with an already rich and successful man to save the day and swoop her off her feet. – Whitley


That’s one reason “Nappily Ever After” feels so dated. Worse, the film’s ostensible celebration of black hair falls flat as experienced through its perfection-obsessed protagonist, Violet Jones, who shaves off her perpetually hot-combed hair after her longtime boyfriend, Clint (Ricky Whittle) fails to deliver the marriage proposal she believes is imminent. – Bethonie Buter, The Washington Post


I think Sanaa (a BLACK Woman since some of you forgot) did a great job with this movie. She showed a single black father (who some of you have classified as “dusty”) taking care of his daughter and keeping her hair natural. I also thought the little girl was cute. Just because she’s a bit tomboyish doesn’t mean they were trying to put that (dark, masculine) stereotype on her. I know a lot of girls of all races who were a bit boyish as kids and became girlier as they aged. Sanaa wanted to send a message to little black girls of all skin tones and from all over the world to love and embrace their hair no matter the length or texture. Agree to disagree if you want but that’s my opinion


So sick of certain groups trying to “remind” black women of our place, which is at the bottom, struggling and uplifting the black man. Meanwhile, white and other women get romance movies where they’re the most beautiful belle of the ball, saved by some rich Prince or good-looking, wealthy man. She gets moved into a large home with maids, we get a bum negro who already has kids when you don’t. Society at large, including many black men in the industry, want black women to be the face of poverty because they benefit from it. Enough of this foolishness! – Eye_Am _Richly_Melinated


‘Nappily Ever After’ is fun but dated – Leah Gordone


Lol struggle love. I liked the film. You have to have conflict in a film otherwise there’d be nothing to watch. The film wasn’t necessarily about struggle love it was about standing on your own two feet and accepting the consequences… Letting go of baggage( be it people or a moment) and overcoming the effects of truama. Even love ones (the mom) can cause trauma with the intention to help. The star has to break free. The love stories were a tool to tell the greater story. The mom had the daughter fixated on goals that weren’t her own and fixated on presentation so much so that she was debilitating herself. The guys were tools for the story but the real story is how we debilitate ourselves vs. discovering our own values and declaring a path of success for ourselves. What you touched on was surface level stuff… Missing the point of the story. Who cares about her job or the guys job…who cares about the men’s looks… Or the story with the child… Those characters only reflect where the main character is at moments in her life. 1st she’s the perfect girl but living in a mental prison for an end goal that never was going to come ( the fantasy marriage) based on her moms foundation. 2nd she is at work selling beauty and getting attention from men at the office ( another result of being a slave to beauty but it doesn’t reflect her greatest potential) 3rd she’s the party girl… Still not her greatest potential 4th she gets real and shaves her head and has to experience the polar opposite of here prior life, gaining a perspective she never had before to understand her internal strength ( not praise based on beauty….she gets to feel shunned and ignored, and ashamed…)5th the artsy freethinking guy she could only attract when it was the right time ( allowing herself new options she never saw before and learning many men prefer nat beauty ) 6th back to her ex ( he finally sees who she really is and is ready to marry but she turns him down Because She Realizes Her Life Had Been Built Off Of ONe “Mistake” by her Mother of not teaching her daughter UNCONDITIONAL LOVE ( without ultimatums and an agenda ) The laughing kids didn’t hurt her IT was the MOM not embracing her as she was and teaching her unconditional love of self and others) So she can’t marry the guy because THAT wasn’t HER dream.. It was a result OF neglect by her mom and training by her mom but it wasn’t a dream that reflected her truth. Now she is curious what her future will be with her new foundation and without limitations of those RULES set by her mom and society. That’s why in the last scenes she is OWNing herself as she is and defining herself… No fantasies…. – Tera Aubrey


I feel like films like this are meant for our mothers, who are in need of unlearning certain things. Not millenials. – Ayana Ruby

I actually liked the movie. I don’t see what made him dusty…because his skin color? He owned his own salon, was an entrepreneur with his own hair products he was making, his own home and he was a father to his daughter not a babydaddy. He liked Sanaa for who she was and helped her to see she was beautiful and perfect even without long flowing hair. He didn’t have a car but we don’t know why. Maybe he sold it to fund his product venture or for his salon. I learned some lessons from the movie but that’s just me. Everyone see things different. To add he could have went on to become a millionaire from the last scene with her pitching his hair products. – Ashley Lee

I don’t think the “ black women feeling the pressure to be perfect trope” is overused. I think the problem is that it’s never presented properly-with sufficient depth, nuance and realism. As a black woman who is a surgeon I deal with this constantly and have for a long time. From the pressure of feeling like I am representing all black people and therefore can not contribute to our negative stereotype, to trying to overcome the presumption that my achievements are 100% secondary to affirmative action, to the real and legitimate fear that my acceptance and job security is only conditional upon me being perfect…there are so many angles to this. And I have never watched a movie exploring this trope that has done my particular struggle justice on film.  I am a Huge fan of Sanaa but I can’t say the same for this movie. The character development was poor-who was Sanaa’s character outside of her obsession with men and marriage? I had the same question about Lynn Whitfield’s character too. The conflict and subsequent resolution of the parents marriage seemed rushed and underdeveloped. The script and to some degree the acting felt heavy handed and lacked sufficient nuance and depth. There were way too many inconsistencies like HOW the hell does a hair dresser confuse relaxer with shampoo???? The smell of relaxer is sooo strong and different from any shampoo and conditioner. The shoplifting-a kid that age is allowed to roam around town freely on her own without her parents? Where does this happen? I honestly saw no chemistry between Sanaa and her lovers and could not understand the attraction. How does a woman with her tastes and income and personality even relate to someone like the hairdresser???? So unrealistic. I am glad other people could relate to it though. I love Sanaa and always want to see her movies do well.- Neena Simone


It was predictable, but cute. Will was a bit hotepy and I glad she dumped the doctor and didn’t end with will. She alone is enough. Good message. – Kristel D


The movie was ok but nothing ground-breaking. I agree it’s dated, like early 2000s – Its Me Dee


No films of black men taking us in and fixing us up😂 – Penny Proud


I absolutely have to disagree. The black male was not struggling in the movie. He had his own business a thriving hair salon, ambition, house and good ethics and morale. He wasn’t a baby daddy..he was a single father. I believe there is a difference. In the movie he never asked her for anything or showed any signs of financial distress. They never gave the impression that he couldn’t provide nice things and a comfortable lifestyle for her. Both sinaa and the guy are both middle aged late 30’s early 40’s. The average black person at that age (man or woman) are not walking around without children. I am 37 and don’t have children BUT all of my peers do. Therefore I know that I am not the norm. I have to set my standards as such…I know that there is a high chance that any man that I date may have children. I think her love towards the father figure was refreshing without all of the diva antics acting like him having a child was beneath her. I honestly don’t see this as a shot at black women but more towards black men. It’s reflecting that black men are incapable of being fine and financially well off AND date natural/dark black women and not be assholes and cheaters. (Which is somewhat fucking true) Also, it didn’t end with them being together…Moreso her just showing appreciation to a nigga that introduced her to herself. Massaging her bald ass head and all. – Queensheba357

Dating Down With Natural Hair Acceptance? | The Good & Bad Propaganda of Nappily Ever After


Lol! I noticed that she was with mixed race doctor (played by Ricky whittle) when she was relaxed but the dusty BLACK guy when natural! Subliminals peeps! – Purely African


Same old same old. Light skinned woman. Dark skinned male. Yawn. Wake me up when it’s over – BlackPPP


The struggle and settling for less narrative pushed on black women is getting very tired! – Lis Martin


This whole movie was centered around what black men wanted, what about what back women want for a change? I hardly see movies targeted to black men about what black women want from them. It isn’t always about black men, im over them being pushed to be the center of black women’s and girl’s lives, its annoying and disgusting. I only liked the part where she finally felt free by not letting her hair and perfectionist attitude control her life. – Iridescent


I felt the same thing about the movie AT FIRST because I thought that was where they were going to end up but she didn’t end up with any man in the end which I wasn’t expecting. She didn’t end up with the hair guy she was helping him with his business that’s about it correct me if I’m wrong. They seemed to just stay friends to me which made me happy because she was too good for him #sorrynotsorry – Codi Bodi


I was honestly hoping for not much romance and a lot of self love struggle and her ending up alone and completely fufilled. I want a movie in general that lets a woman’s life revolve around her for a little while. – Mikky J

Black women who live in the real world already knows that the average Black man prefers other women over her. He will spend money on other women yet expect the Black women to carry the relationship financially. Black men take Black women for granted big times I got to check this movie out. – Will Barnes


I hated the movie why did she have to date down and be with a man with a child. She also help him with building his dream.No thanks! – Malta

I don’t agree with this video. I don’t like the fact that the only reason why you didn’t like the movie was because the men she dated were not wealthy. It’s almost as if you are quantifying a black woman’s worth according to the men she dates. I believe that this message is really dangerous to promote. For me it wasn’t a struggle love story. Instead, the story was about a woman finding herself and learning to be independent. The proof of that is that at the end she walks off happy and alone. She can be happy without a man. The story in my opinion is about a woman who has lived a life of perfection all her life, following other people’s rules. She’s trying to find herself. After her breakup, like many of us, she goes off the rails, dyes her hair and tries to have a one night stand with someone that isn’t familiar to her (a white man). So I don’t agree with the comment about fetishising black women. This is a woman trying to discover herself. Soon she meets someone that helps her remember her worth (the darker skinned man) which I really loved. This in turn does turn into a short lived romance. I believe this man was portrayed in a good light. He might not be super rich but he is a great father, employed and empowers black women. – Oryandlee Mormont


The natural hair movement may have improved afro hair acceptance, but films like Nappily Ever After are still needed more than ever – Maxine Harrison, Independept

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